Why Are My Solar Panels Shiny?

Why Are My Solar Panels Shiny? 1

Is the light getting in your eyes? Sometimes we’re asked why solar panels shine so brightly in the sun, whether this means they’re broken, and what impact this has on production. 

It’s not a silly question; solar panels create electricity by absorbing light, after all, so why are they reflecting it?

The simple answer is that solar panels are shiny because they reflect light they don’t use. There are a few reasons for this though, so let’s shine a light on shiny solar panels…

 

Why do solar panels shine?


There are a few reasons you may see the light shining off your solar panels:

 

  • Glass. From redirecting light with a magnifying glass to seeing the light reflect off your neighbour’s window, you’ve probably seen how well glass can reflect light. Given a shiny day and the right angle, you’ll probably see a lot of light shining off your glass panels. 
  • Aluminium busbars. Solar panels need to transport electricity from the panels, through to an inverter; busbars are used for transporting the energy. Aluminium busbars are a cheaper and more sustainable solution than copper busbars, and they optimize heat dissipation and reduce resistivity. Aluminium also reflects light, so if you’re seeing shiny lines on your panels, they’re the most likely explanation. 

 

Shouldn’t solar panels be using all the light instead of reflecting it?

Although solar panels are designed to turn light into energy, they only convert around 15-20% of the incoming light. Some of that other 80-85% of the light needs to be reflected back to avoid overheating the panels. 

 

Do shiny solar panels impact production?

Shiny panels still work correctly; light is what creates solar energy. The two main issues that impact solar panel efficiency are dirt and heat; a hot solar panel won’t produce as well, because the light creates energy, not heat. As long as your panels are receiving plenty of light, and there’s no heatwave, your panels should work the way they were designed. 

 

What if my solar panels are dull and don’t shine?

If your solar panels aren’t glowing, that’s fine too. However, if they were shiny at one point, but aren’t any longer, this may indicate that they’re dirty. Dirty panels don’t produce as much energy, as the dirt stops the light getting through. 

We recommend cleaning your panels every 12 months, or more often if the panels are exposed to a large amount of dirt, debris, and leaf matter. A good clean can improve your solar efficiency by 20% or more, depending on the amount of dirt. Although rain can clean some of the dirt off your panels, it can also streak larger amounts of dust, making the dirt coverage worse. 

 

Now you know why your solar panels shine…

What next? If your solar system is working correctly, you can leave it to continue to do its job without interference. However if you’ve noticed a downturn in production on your monitoring (or an increase in your power bills), you can clean your panels, or talk to your installer about any issues that your panels or inverter may be experiencing.